Update: President Obama signed the original healthcare reform bill today and plans to sign the companion reconciliation bill currently being negotiated in the Senate within days. The White House is involved in a flurry of healthcare reform related activities, culminating in a visit Thursday to Iowa City, where he first announced his health care reform plan as a presidential candidate in 2007.
The House late Sunday voted 219-212 — with no Republicans in favor — to send the 10-year, $938 billion original health care reform bill to Obama for his signature. The measure, which the Senate passed in December, will extend coverage to 32 million uninsured Americans, reduce federal budget deficits and ban such insurance company practices as denying coverage to people with existing medical problems.
A companion measure making a series of changes to the main bill was approved 220-211. It goes to the Senate, where debate could begin as early as Tuesday. Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he has the votes to pass the measure under special budget rules requiring just a simple majority vote.